ABC January 2021 News: Missing Middle Housing and more

(Sent Saturday, January 30th.) On Monday, February 1, the City Council will first take up the Missing Middle Housing (MMH) zoning petition, which we’ve been very pleased to launch alongside Sunrise Boston. This petition would address several equity, affordability, and sustainability problems with current neighborhood zoning, by allowing up to 3 stories of new multi-family housing in any residential area, while removing the requirement to include often-under-utilized off-street parking spaces. Continue reading

Missing Middle Housing Announcement

Advocates from Sunrise Boston and A Better Cambridge launched the Cambridge Missing Middle Housing Petition today, gearing up for a push to ease zoning restrictions in Cambridge’s residential neighborhoods. The proposal — a joint venture of the youth climate justice group and the housing advocacy organization — would create a zoning category for residential neighborhoods that allows new “missing middle” housing: up to three stories of multi-family housing like townhouses and three-deckers. Continue reading

Why Cambridge Needs Zoning Reform: 2072 Mass Ave Reflects Our City’s Planning and Its Values

The proposed 100% affordable housing development at 2072 Mass Ave is a sustainable, transit-oriented project that has incorporated community feedback on design and neighborhood impact to date. As housing advocates and proponents of more sustainable, equitable development strategies, A Better Cambridge is all in on this Passive House development.  Continue reading

ABC Support Letter for 2072 Mass Ave

Re: 2072 Mass Ave (BZA-017326-2020) – Letter of Support Dear Members of the Board of Zoning Appeal, A Better Cambridge (“ABC”) wholeheartedly supports the proposed 100% affordable housing development at 2072 Massachusetts Avenue near Porter Square in Cambridge; we hope that the BZA will agree and approve this valuable project. Continue reading

ABC Opposes MBTA Forging Ahead Service Cuts

A Better Cambridge sent the following statement to the Fiscal Management and Control Board yesterday: A Better Cambridge opposes the MBTA’s Forging Ahead plan. Our transportation system and our affordable housing crisis are inexorably linked - we cannot solve one without the other. The MBTA system is the backbone of our region and our city—Cambridge needs safe, reliable public transit for residents, commuters, and visitors to thrive. The Governor, legislature, and MBTA must find a better way forward that does not compromise equitable access to our transit system and economy, including waiting on federal funding and finding alternative revenue sources. Please take service cuts off the table and ask the state house to find new funding and act to protect our essential transit.

ABC November News: 2072 Mass Ave hearing, neighborhood associations, & more

(Sent on Monday, November 30th, 2020.) On Thursday, December 10th at 6pm, the Board of Zoning Appeal will be deciding whether to grant a comprehensive permit for the 49-unit affordable housing project at 2072 Mass Ave (near Porter Square). A Better Cambridge is strongly in support of this project - in addition to providing 49 units of badly-needed affordable housing, some at deeply affordable rates, it is a great model of what Passive House, sustainable development should look like along corridors near transit. Sadly, some neighbors are complaining about scale and parking; pro-housing voices are needed, especially if you live nearby. Continue reading

ABC October News: eviction crisis, data workshop, & more

(Sent on Tuesday, October 20th.) While it’s a tremendous victory that the Affordable Housing Overlay has become law — thanks in huge part to your support — the state of housing in Massachusetts is currently dire. The governor’s eviction moratorium officially expired on October 17, putting tens of thousands of tenants at risk of housing insecurity even as winter is coming and COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Local and federal protections remain in effect, and the state has announced new rent relief for those in the state’s homelessness prevention program. If you know anyone at risk of displacement in Cambridge, please direct them to the City’s Housing Liaison. Somerville also provides local support through their Office of Housing Stability. Continue reading

Affordable Housing Overlay Passes

First-of-its-kind ordinance is expected to increase supply of affordable housing Cambridge, Mass.: A Better Cambridge announces that the Cambridge City Council passed the Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) tonight (October 5th), by a vote of 7–2. This upzoning ordinance makes it easier to build affordable housing in all neighborhoods of Cambridge, including those that have long resisted it. The greater density allowed under the AHO will help affordable housing developers compete with market-rate developers when land becomes available, which will increase diversity and further racial and economic equity in historically white and wealthy areas of the city. Continue reading

The Historic Affordable Housing Overlay Is about to Pass. How Did It Overcome so Many Obstacles?

When the Affordable Housing Overlay was first unveiled a couple years ago, it proposed something that had never been done in the history of Cambridge: allowing construction of new affordable housing in all neighborhoods. The approach taken by the City has long been to allow more housing almost exclusively in formerly industrial parts of Cambridge: places like North Point, Kendall Square, and Alewife. Long-time residential neighborhoods have remained almost entirely off-limits to new housing. Continue reading

ABC September News: AHO, tenants’ rights, Porter Square project, & more

(Sent on September 25th, 2020.) On Monday, October 5th, the Cambridge City Council will cast its final vote on the Affordable Housing Overlay. We will send an email soon with further details, but mark your calendars now! The Overlay will make it feasible for desperately needed 100% affordable housing projects to be built in every neighborhood of the city, putting a dent in Cambridge’s legacy of de facto segregation.We are so grateful to everyone who has fought so hard to make the Overlay a reality. The more support and gratitude we can give Councilors for finally passing the Overlay, the more likely they are to continue to stand up to NIMBYs and champion pro-housing, pro-equity measures in the future. Continue reading